The West Virginia Bar Exam
Structure, Topics, Dates, Cost, Scores, and Eligibility
The West Virginia Bar Exam switched to the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE®) format in July 2017. The UBE is made up of three parts: the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE®), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT®), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE®).
This standardized test format allows individuals to transfer their scores to participating states more easily. The article provides more information about the WV Bar Exam, including dates, deadlines, fees, applications, results, and more.
West Virginia Bar Exam Structure
The Uniform Bar Examination is divided into two days, each with 6 testing hours. The MPT and MEE are administered on day one, and the MBE on day two.
West Virginia Bar Exam Dates, Requirements, and Scheduling
You can’t pass an exam that you can’t take. Mark the dates and deadlines shown below on your calendar, and be sure to review the eligibility requirements.
|Filing Deadline||February 27-28, 2024||July 30-31, 2024||Fee|
|Application Opens||August 1, 2023||March 1, 2024||N/A|
|First Time||November 1, 2023||April 1, 2024||$500|
|Retake||December 1, 2023||May 1, 2024||$700|
- Must have graduated with a Juris Doctorate (JD) or Bachelor of Law (LLB) from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) or one that meets the equivalency standards set out in Rule 3.0 of the Rules for Admission.
- Meets the requirements for good moral and fitness
To sit for the West Virginia Bar Exam, follow these steps:
- Familiarize yourself with the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law in West Virginia and review application instructions.
- Complete the online West Virginia-specific character and fitness application. Print and keep a copy.
- Follow the National Conference of Bar Examiners’s (NCBE®) instructions to submit required materials and payment. Payments made to the West Virginia Board of Law Examiners (WVBLE) are made separately.
- Mail specified materials (original application, affidavits, filing fee, transcripts, credit report, MBE Transfer Certification Request if needed, and Rule 3.4(c) request if applicable) to WVBLE at the address below. Do not use staples, post-it notes, or exhibit tabs.
- Complete the Test Accommodations Form and submit it by the specified dates (if applicable).
- If applicable, submit copies of other jurisdiction bar applications, official law school transcripts, Certificate of Good Standing (from other jurisdictions), and your MPRE score report to WVBLE.
- Inform WVBLE and NCBE of any application changes via appropriate forms.
West Virginia Judicial Tower
4700 MacCorkle Ave. SE Ste 700B
Charleston, WV 25304
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West Virginia Bar Exam Cost and Fees
|Late App. Fee||$200|
Payments are non-refundable. Credit cards are not accepted. Make payments with money orders or personal/business/certified checks made payable to “State of WV”.
- West Virginia University College of Law Admissions offers scholarships to students regularly, providing 80% of its students with scholarships in 2022.
- Browse AccessLex Institute Law School Scholarship Databank.
- Check out the ABA website, which offers 100+ opportunities and programs for young lawyers and law students.
- Join a study group and split the bar exam preparation materials cost among group members.
- Research free or low-cost study online study materials like past bar exam questions and answers to supplement commercial study aids.
- Some bar exam prep companies offer discounts or promotions to students who register early or refer friends to their program.
West Virginia Bar Exam Subjects and Topics
The WV Bar Exam tests a candidate's legal knowledge, analytical skills, and competence to practice law. It covers a range of subjects, from Constitutional Law and Contracts to Criminal Law and Evidence. Candidates will be assessed by their ability to apply legal principles, draft legal documents, and effectively solve problems to ensure they can competently represent clients and complete entry-level legal tasks.
Testable subjects on the MEE
Some MEE subjects may be tested together. Others may not be tested at all. For example, Civil Procedure has been tested on almost every MEE for the past ten years, while Criminal Law has only appeared a few times.
The MBE contains 200 multiple-choice questions divided evenly over 7 subjects. You'll notice that 7 x 25 does not equal 200. That's because 25 MBE questions are unscored questions that act as field tests for future exams.
The MPT is designed to test an examinee's "lawyering skills" using only the materials provided. These tasks are conducted in a closed-universe, fictional jurisdiction called "Franklin." The laws of the real world do not apply, so your critical thinking skills and understanding of fundamental legal principles are key.
West Virginia MPRE Requirements
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE®) is a 2-hour, 60-multiple-choice question exam that assesses an examinee's knowledge of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. You don’t have to pass the MPRE before you can take the West Virginia Bar Exam, but you must earn a passing score within 25 months of a successful bar exam. You can register to take the MPRE through the NCBE.
West Virginia MPRE Minimum Passing Score
West Virginia has an MPRE minimum passing score of 80. Candidates are responsible for requesting a copy of their MPRE score report be sent to the Bar. Scores are only valid if transferred directly from the MPRE testing authority.
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West Virginia Bar Exam Scoring, Results and Pass Rates
The UBE employs scaled scoring to ensure fairness across exam versions. Scaled scoring accounts for the fact that one exam administration may be more or less difficult than another administration. For example, February's exam may be more difficult than July's. It wouldn't be fair if you failed because you just happened to receive a harder exam version. To solve this, your raw scores are transformed into scaled scores through a statistical method called equating. Unfortunately, the NCBE does not release data on the calculations it uses to determine scaled scores.
West Virginia bar exam scoring/grading
West Virginia minimum passing score is 270. Since the UBE is divided into two equally weighted sections—writing (MPT/MEE) and the MBE—you want to aim for a 135 on each section.
However, you do not need to score 135 on each section to pass the WV bar exam. For example, an exceptional MBE score can balance out a subpar score on the writing section. What's important is that the sum of your two scores is 270 or higher.
West Virginia Bar Exam results and pass rates
You'll notice that the West Virginia Bar Exam's repeater pass rates are substantially lower than the first-timer pass rates. This discrepancy between first-timer and repeater pass rates is common across all jurisdictions and is likely because many who fail their first bar exam don't change how they study.
|Exam||Overall Pass Rate||First-Timer Pass Rate||Repeater Pass Rate||Results Release Date|
|July 2023||72%||76%||43%||August 28|
|Feb. 2023||55%||50%||56%||March 27|
Here are the annual pass rates for the West Virginia Bar Exam since 2017 divided into first-time examinees and repeaters:
Results are typically released 7 weeks after an exam administration. Below are the pass rates for the past 6 years.
West Virginia Bar Exam Reciprocity
To apply to the West Virginia Bar via admission on motion/reciprocity (admission without examination), you must have actively practiced law for 5 of the 7 years immediately preceding your application.
West Virginia offers reciprocity with the following jurisdictions:
What Makes the West Virginia Bar Exam Unique?
The West Virginia Bar Exam follows the same format as other jurisdictions that administer the UBE. However, West Virginia requires post-admission mandatory Continuing Legal Education (CLE). Within 2 years of admission, attorneys must complete the mandatory, in-person Bridge the Gap seminar. Following that, attorneys must complete 24 hours of CLE every 2 years.
West Virginia Bar Exam for foreigners
Foreign applicants may sit for the West Virginia Bar Exam if they meet the following requirements:
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Contact details of the West Virginia state bar
|Phone Number||(304) 558-7815|
|Contact List||West Virginia Judiciary|
|Mailing Address||West Virginia Judicial Tower, Ste. 700 B 4700 MacCorkle Ave., SE
Charleston, WV 25304
West Virginia Bar Exam FAQs
The West Virginia Bar Exam consists of a total of 12 testing hours divided equally between two days.
The West Virginia Bar Exam is as hard as the bar exam of the 40 other jurisdictions that have adopted the UBE. However, states with non-UBE components may be considered more difficult.
The timely filing deadline for the West Virginia Bar Exam application is November 1, 2023, for the February 2024 exam, and April 1, 2024 for the July 2024 exam. The application fee is $500.
After 4 UBE failed attempts, West Virginia requires applicants to request special permission to retake the exam.
Retaking the West Virginia Bar exam costs the same amount as an initial application.
The minimum passing UBE score for West Virginia is 270.
West Virginia offers reciprocity with the following jurisdictions.
The Board may accept an MBE score from another jurisdiction’s bar exam taken within 13 months if they passed the entire bar exam in the state. You are responsible for notifying the Board that you want to use a previous MBE score when you apply.
You can transfer your UBE score to another jurisdiction if that jurisdiction allows it.
What is the time limit for accepting a transferred UBE score in West Virginia(i.e., maximum age of the UBE score)?
The maximum age for the UBE score in West Virginia is 3 years immediately preceding submission of your application.
You may be admitted without examination to the West Virginia Bar if you’ve been actively engaged in the practice of law and meet these requirements.
We recommend dedicating 400 study hours to the WV Bar Exam. Most students begin studying 8-10 weeks before their exams administration. However, starting sooner may aid retention and decrease burnout, so we recommend starting as early as 4-6 months out if possible, especially if you work full-time.
No, you cannot practice law without a law degree in West Virginia.
The typical path to becoming a licensed attorney in West Virginia is as follows: earn an undergraduate degree, pass the LSAT, earn a JD from an ABA-accredited law school, be deemed of good moral character and fitness, pass the bar exam, pass the MPRE, and be approved for admission to the bar.
Fill out and submit the Test Accommodations Application with your application.